Editor's Note: Welcome, 2010
I don't know a single person who wasn't ready for 2009 to be over. Across the board, my friends, co-workers and professional acquaintances all are looking forward to welcoming whatever 2010 has in store. We all know it might not be a whole lot better than what 2009 dealt, but the hope that it will be carries us into the new year.
And with this new year come the inevitable resolutions. In the past, I've resolved to eat better, exercise more, not stay up so late, watch less television — you know … the same old, same old. But this year my resolutions are a little less concrete: live with more grace and gratitude; do something daily to put a smile on someone's face; take a more holistic view of my health, and of my place in the world; nurture my spirit and those of the people around me; be there — really there — in the moment, wherever I am; leave less of a mark on the earth; celebrate every day; keep the noise at bay and listen for and to the still, small voice that guides me without fail to the proper conclusions and courses of action; and exist as a living example of the best tenents of my faith.
Sounds like a lot, I know. But these resolutions are more or less a natural progression toward my ultimate life goal, which is to live with joy, passion and compassion, fearlessly, abundantly and with purpose. They're a lot bigger than "losing 20 pounds," but at the same time, they're really just small steps that, together, will make me a better person.
As a fundraiser, what is your ultimate goal? Raising more money to support your important cause, of course. What can you resolve to do in 2010 and beyond that will get you there? Yes, you can vow to send more timely thank-you messages to donors; yes, you can commit to a social-media plan that has you updating your organization's Facebook page every 15 minutes; yes, you can look into that whole notion of mobile giving.
But like Jocelyn Harmon explains in this month's To the Point column, those are tools, and you don't start building a house by picking up a hammer. There are blueprints to be made, and in the case of nonprofit fundraising, those blueprints are built around certain rules of stewardship and donor care. So in 2010, consider committing to (or renewing your commitment to) things like:
• Communication — establish and maintain personalized, two-way interactions with donors and other supporters where you talk with them rather than just at them.
• Respect — once you know what your supporters want, give it to them; once you know how they want to be treated, treat them that way.
• Patience — accept that even the people who know and love your cause need (and deserve) you to take the time to earn their trust.
It's a new year … the perfect time to shake off bad habits, let in some light, and embrace ideas and practices that will move you toward your goals. May 2010 be a year of great successes, much joy and many blessings for each of you, both personally and professionally.